In recent weeks we’ve had an increase in inquiries here at DDOT about safety on the Pennsylvania Avenue bike lanes. Listed below is an update that touches on these issues.
There are two separate but related issues. First is the issue of the missing flex posts at the intersections, which help protect cyclists from turning vehicles. We removed those posts prior to the resurfacing of the roadway in November with the intention of reinstalling them after the Presidential Inauguration and snow season, two events not compatible with the posts. The extended delay was due to the fact that we had hoped to install a new type of post, one more easily removed for special events. We’ve had trouble getting the new posts, so we went ahead and recently reinstalled the old posts.
The second issue affecting safety on Pennsylvania Avenue is the motor vehicles making U-turns. Despite a new law and stepped up enforcement, anecdotal evidence and feedback suggests that cars are continuing to make this illegal and unsafe maneuver. In 2012, there were 16 reported bike crashes on this section of Pennsylvania Avenue, 11 of which could be attributed to U-turning cars.
While DDOT received guidance in 2010 to exclude a physical barrier between the bike lane and the other lanes, we believe it is now time to try a new design solution. Attached is an image of a device we’re currently considering. We have begun the process to approve the approach, or something similar, and hope to have a solution on the street in the next few months, perhaps first on a test block, and then on the entire bike lane.
We value the comments and suggestions we’ve received from the community to help improve the safety of our bike lanes and look forward to implementing a solution that helps us achieve this goal.